May 29, 2009
Repeat Offenses Draw Prospective Suspension
An attorney with a significant record of prior discipline, including violations after reinstatement from an earlier suspension, was again suspended for one year by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The lawyer had violated ethical rules in three matters, two involving clients and the third involving the complaint of a service provider.
The court rejected his request to backdate the suspension:
Attorney...contends a one-year license suspension retroactive to April 1, 2007, would be appropriate. He says he has taken responsibility for his misconduct by stipulating to all of the complaint's fact allegations as well as stipulating to the duration of the discipline sought by the OLR. He notes he had the option of seeking reinstatement but instead sought to resolve this matter before proceeding. Thus, he contends, a retroactive suspension would properly take into account all those factors.
We acknowledge Attorney...has accepted responsibility for his misconduct. We conclude, nevertheless, the mitigating effect of his acceptance of responsibility must be viewed in relation to his extensive disciplinary history, along with the number of counts and the nature of his misconduct. In view of these significantly aggravating factors, we conclude that a retroactive suspension fails to achieve the goals of legal discipline. Accordingly, the one-year license suspension shall be effective the date of this order.
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